It’s no secret that I am a big advocate for the medicinal use of cannabis. It is a remarkable avenue with vast and profound possibilities for healing. I do my best to help educate with what I know, continue to learn, and try and help remove the stigma attached to it. The idea that cannabis is primarily used by a bunch of riff raff stoners is simply outdated, not true, and really needs to go.
I get asked a lot if I sell cannabis products. I do NOT. It’s illegal. It is currently illegal in the state of Maine to sell retail cannabis. HOWEVER, It is perfectly legal to grow your own plants (up to three flowering) and make your own things from your own plants. You do NOT need a medical card to do this. It is also oddly legal to charge for a class or workshop or farm tour that comes with a complimentary oil, salve, edible (gotta love them loopholes!)
So with that said, what I do, is one of two things……..I either refer those with a medical card to a reputable organically growing caregiver who knows his stuff………OR……..I encourage people to grow their own, refer them to people that can help them do this and then offer to teach them how to make some pretty amazing medicines with it. I’m an herbalist with vast wisdom on medicinal herbs and when you combine cannabis with other herbs you get some pretty incredible medicines.
How I make some of my cannabis products differs from how others do, at least in regards to how I make oils and salves. What differs from mine is that when making an oil, I do not first decarb the cannabis. Decarbing is a process where cannabis flower or leaf are heated at low levels for a short period of time to bring out the THC. When you do this, you tend to burn off a lot of the terpenes. Those terpenes have considerable medicinal value, which I like to retain in the oils, as they bring about some amazing benefits. Some cannabis experts would disagree with my methods, which is totally ok. I’ve found something that works amazingly well, which isn’t to discount any other ways of doing this. There are many. Most of them are all good.
There are many strains of cannabis and all are a little bit different and will resonate differently with different individuals. You kind of have to experiment to see what works best for you. I have found that the best strains for internal use have at least a 1:1 ratio of CBD/THC. And actually those with higher THC content tend to work noticeably faster and better. I have found that the best strains for topical use, as in salves, seem most effective when using a high THC strain. And ALWAYS. ALWAYS USE WHOLE PLANT.
To make a cannabis oil (which you can then turn into a salve).
You will need
- Mason jar (quart or pint depending on what you want to make)
- Organic olive oil
- DRIED Cannabis trim and flower. Organically grown is best. Leaf works just fine, but if you want the extra benefits add some flower. (About enough to fill half of your mason jar)
- Double Boiler (this is really important because it will prevent oil from getting to hot and burning your plant material)
- Fine mesh strainer (I use two different sizes, a larger mesh to strain out the large plant material, then a fine mesh one to get out all of the little remnants of plant material)
- Blender, grinder, or food processor
*To make a salve you will want beeswax. Approximately 1/4 of a cup for every cup of oil.
Grind your plant material into a coarse ground. Don’t go for powder or you will have a harder time stringing it.
Place your plant material in your double boiler top (you should have already filled bottom with water) and cover with oil. I tend to do about 1 part plant material to 2 or 3 parts oil depending on what I have and how strong I want it.
Turn on double boiler. Let come to a boil, then turn heat down to a medium low to let simmer.
Let simmer for 1-2 hours (you can do a bit more if you want).
Let oil cool.
At this point, you CAN strain it and bottle it and you are good to go. I like to put all of the cooled oil AND plant material in a mason jar and let sit for 1-2 weeks, shaking daily. I then strain it and store it.
Infused oil done.
If you wanted to make a salve from this oil, decide how much you want to make. Put the oil into a clean double boiler top, heat, and melt 1/4 cup of beeswax ( I tend to use a bit more because I like a firmer salve). Test your salve consistency by putting a toothpick or spoon into the oil and putting it into the freezer for about 1-2 minutes. You can then see if you like the consistency. If its not thick enough, add a bit more beeswax and test again. IF it’s not thin enough, add a bit more oil.
Turn off double boiler. Pour hot salve into tins, jars, etc and let cool and solidify in your container. Once it is COMPLETELY COOL, put your lid on, label, and date and store.
You can use different types of oil for your oil infusion or salves such as coconut or avocado. Make sure the oils are edible if you plan to use any of the oil you have made internally. I like a nice organic olive oil as my base because it’s very flexible an can be used both internally and externally.
You can get extremely creative by infusing other herbs in oils, in the same way as you did the cannabis and the combine the two in your final blend for a salve. Some really nice ones to use are:
For pain and inflammation: white willow bark, ginger, cayenne, turmeric
For healing: lavender flowers, rose petals, helichrysum flowers, nettle leaf
You can also incorporate essential oils in your salves. Not a lot is needed to bring about their therapeutic benefits. I would recommend no more than 10 drops total essential oil per cup of oil for a skin healing salve…..and no more than 20 drops of essential oil to one cup of oil for a pain and inflammation salve. If using essential oils, add them to your warm oil BEFORE you add the beeswax.
For pain and inflammation: turmeric, wild majoram, ho wood, copaiba, lavender, birch, wintergreen
For healing skin: lavender, tea tree, geranium, patchouli
And that’s pretty much all there is to it. Now you know how to make a cannabis infused oil and have some good tips for turning that oil into a salve!
PSSTTT…..you can make a cannabis-free salve from using other medicinal herbs with the guidance here.